Other things became clearer to me that day as well. The lovely warm water had disappeared. Perhaps I was up too late, but no, the sun hadn’t warmed the pipes as yet. Come evening, lovely warm water again.
I also saw how cocoa was grown, dried and prepared. Although I protested that I didn’t like hot chocolate or cocoa drink, she wisely took no notice of me and made me the most superb cocoa drink I have ever tasted. I seem to remember that nutmeg and rum were a couple of the ingredients.
My hostess and I, to my shame I cannot remember her name, had things other than vandalising bathrooms in common. She was the Head of English at the local girls’ school in Clarendon. That put me in my place. I’d only just finished my English degree. We had a very agreeable morning sitting out on the veranda, shelling peas and discussing Shakespeare, Jane Austen and the small variety of Caribbean authors I was gradually getting to know and enjoy.
I then found out why the house had seemed rather disorganised and why she couldn’t cook despite being in her fifties. This week was the first time in her life that she had had to keep house and cook. Before that her mother had seen to all that side of things whilst she went out to work. Her mother had died the previous week.
I tried to imagine complete strangers arriving in England, people being asked to put them up for a long weekend and still taking them after a death and funeral.
No, I couldn’t.